CONGRESS should enact, and President Bush should sign, the so-called Brady Bill, which would require a weeklong waiting period before dealers could deliver handguns to buyers. During this delay, police could check records to see if the purchaser has a criminal record. Some people would be stopped from acting on violent, momentary impulses.
More than 20,000 Americans are killed by handguns every year. Common sense tells us that some of those lives could have been saved if legislation similar to the Brady Bill had been on the books. Most Americans know this; that is why polls have shown 90 percent of the people support this measure.
Unhappily, that relentless and well-heeled lobbyist, the National Rifle Association, along with two of its most prominent members, President Bush and House Speaker Thomas Foley, oppose the bill. The NRA cites the Second Amendment, which either permits everybody to possess a gun or authorizes armed militias. The Supreme Court can judge the constitutionality of the Brady Bill; in the meantime, however, let us hope Congress and the president recognize that a brief waiting period infringes on no responsible gun owner's rights, and may actually save some lives in the future.